Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Welfare Reforms, Council Tax set Precedent for More Postcode Lottery Benefits to come.

with 45 comments


‘Postcode lottery’ in emergency welfare claims (BBC)

I have just paid the last installment of my year’s Council Tax.

Now in Ipswich this is relatively low – though an unwelcome extra deduction from our JSA.

When they introduced this new system, which means even the poorest in the land have to pay Council Tax, the ‘benefit’ reduction was ‘localised’ so it depends on where you live as to how much you pay.

So somebody with the same amount of JSA in say, Tendering Essex, will pay about double, if not more than somebody in Ipswich.

The Void reported the results back in 2014.

Court Cases, Chaos and Soaring Debt As Council Tax Reform Unravels

The shambolic postcode lottery which has emerged after reforms to Council Tax Benefit is creating chaos for Local Authorities and driving some people into desperate poverty.

In August last year we saw this (Guardian),

Council use of bailiffs to chase debts jumps 16% in two years, charity reports

The most common reason to use bailiffs was council tax arrears, followed by parking fines. They were also used to get benefit overpayments reimbursed and to collect business rates and commercial rates.

And this (Independent, also August 2015)

Bailiffs visit 12,000 of London’s poorest households over council tax arrears

Over 122,000 people in the city have fallen into arrears on their council tax

Now we face the propsect of this kind of break up of help being extended a lot more.

Handing responsibility for emergency welfare support to local authorities risks turning the welfare system into a “postcode lottery”, an influential group of MPs have warned.

Reports the ever excellent Welfare News: full story here.

A new report published by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee raises concerns about the pressures on families caused by welfare reforms, and the “coverage and adequacy” of localised welfare safety nets to fill the gaps – particularly in England.

The Committee examined three locally-run discretionary schemes: Council Tax support, Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) and local welfare assistance schemes.

The cross-party group of MPs say the Government “must act” to protect vulnerable groups from national welfare reforms such as the Benefit Cap and Bedroom Tax, otherwise known as ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.

The Committee has also urged central Government and local councils to do more to prevent vulnerable people from being plunged into severe hardship and destitution.

Key findings from the report include:

– Localisation risks blurring the lines of national and local responsibility, leading to confusion among vulnerable people about where to turn in a financial crisis:  closer joint-working and sharing of national and local data must be prioritised.

– Time-limited Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) are clearly inadequate protection for some groups of people the Government did not intend its welfare reforms to affect, but who cannot reasonably be expected to take steps to mitigate the effects. Such groups should be exempted.

– The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) should strengthen and put onto a statutory footing its guidance in relation to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) for disabled people.

– Central and local government should agree and implement an effective local government funding system which can cope with future economic downturns and protect services, including crisis welfare, in more deprived areas.

– The recently announced DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) review of local Council Tax support schemes should investigate, and if necessary recommend eradicating local authorities issuing court summonses, and instructing bailiffs, as a method of raising revenue.

Rest of story continues here.


Written by Andrew Coates

January 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm

45 Responses

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  1. New parents could lose hundreds of pounds a year in tax credits when they have their first child under Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare changes, Labour has warned.

    The government has admitted that tax credit claimants may be shifted on to the new universal credit system if they “become responsible for a child for the first time”. Owen Smith, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said this meant people will be penalised for getting pregnant.



    January 13, 2016 at 9:38 am

  2. Hey, look on the bright side, you save 200 on fuel, no wait, public transport saves on fuel but has yet to pass on the saving.

    Water over priced yet the only offer were given and yet again wont see till 2020 is a mere 5%, the equivalent of not charging VAT. If 5% is all we are entitled to then you have to question how much were we really ripped off. I have to wonder how long before they claim a failing infrastructure and come looking for the taxpayers to bail them out.

    You have to ask yourself if government never borrowed any more money what would be the state of the country now and how would have the public viewed the coalitions efforts ?


    January 13, 2016 at 10:44 am

    • Millions of households in England and Wales are paying too much for their water supply because of poor oversight by Ofwat, says a committee of MPs.

      A report from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the regulator consistently overestimated water companies’ costs.

      It said many householders would be “appalled” to learn their water bills could have been smaller.

      Ofwat said it would “carefully consider” the PAC’s report.



      January 13, 2016 at 12:24 pm

  3. Back in the 1970s the water rates were part of your rent.

    They were minimal.

    Now the privatised companies exploit their monopolies to charge as much as they can get away with.

    The thieves that run them are some of the worst in the country.

    Andrew Coates

    January 13, 2016 at 11:52 am

    • Bang on as if you live a mere 4.7 miles from me, you pay almost double what i do.


      January 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm

  4. We are due to start the Work Programme with Working Links next week! Does anyone know of a way out of this? It would be nice to be in a position to tell the jobcentre to fuck off but we don’t want to risk a sanction! Please help!

    £33 Million Pounds Lottery Winners

    January 13, 2016 at 12:10 pm

  5. Council tax bills in Moray could rise by almost a fifth under proposals which would see the local authority become the first to break a Scotland-wide freeze.

    Moray Council has confirmed that bills could rise by as much as 18% this year – which would see the bill for a Band D property increase by £204 a year.

    It said the move was necessary to protect frontline services.



    January 13, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    • What i don’t understand is a claimant only has around 75 pounds a week, some of which goes towards rent, more if you have an extra room and then the usual utilities and food. So how exactly do these councils get the tax and why if it costs way more than what they recoup ?

      What if you get sanctioned for a year and you dont have anything in your home that baliffs can make any money out of, what then ?


      January 13, 2016 at 2:10 pm

  6. The Prime Minister has failed to guarantee social housing tenants would get new homes in their areas once they’re demolished.

    The Tories’ new housing bill contains a string of measures which could drastically reduce the country’s stocks of social housing, which thousands rely on to keep a secure roof over their heads.



    January 13, 2016 at 2:04 pm

  7. Russian doctor punches patient to death in hospital room.

    What do you think, over worked, under valued ?


    January 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    • doug

      Nope, Assaulted. The guy, who apparently had a history of this, assaulted the attending nurse and the Doc punched him, unfortunately that lead to the death.


      January 13, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      • Ah, i see, the doctor despite medical training wasn’t aware of what happens when a head hits a very hard floor. Tell me Gazza can you demonstrate where this doctor despite punching the patient made any attempt to ensure that didn’t happen ?

        And also would a doctor not know what happens when knees or elbows are used ?

        Now as much as i agree this doctor im sure never intended it to end this way cant really claim negligence because of said medical knowledge not to mention to be negligent you have to be non prudent.

        Prudent means – acting with or showing care and thought for the future.

        Being prudent is, is it not what doctors are all about.

        The lesson here and the recent G4S scandal is two wrongs don’t make a right and if this seems justified to you then what position am i, you or anybody else in to complain about the treatment DWP dish out which again im sure certain ministers never imagined death would result from.


        January 13, 2016 at 4:19 pm

  8. Oh as someone whos done martial arts since a child i know only to well like doctors the secondary effects and consequences of physical contact of this nature and even though i like him cant predict which one that will be cant ever argue its a probably possibility im unaware of no matter my intentions.


    January 13, 2016 at 5:05 pm

  9. Private messages at work can be read by EU employers


    How long before DWP and there providers try to use this to there advantage i wonder ?


    January 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

  10. Work & health programme. 13 January 2016

    In looking to co-locate with local authorities, we are building on the co-location strategy in
    Jobcentre Plus which, since 2013, has been to consider hosting and co-locating with public,
    voluntary sector and contracted partners to deliver targeted, cost-effective services, where it is
    sensible to do so. Through stronger, local partnerships, we are better able to assist people to
    find work, acquire skills and serve their communities.

    At present, DWP has 30 fully co-located sites, mostly where a full Jobcentre service is
    co-located within a partner’s premises. The majority of full co-locations are with Local
    Authorities; others include housing associations and colleges.

    Through our local Jobcentre Plus Managers, we are engaged in discussions with partner
    organisations about specific opportunities in many locations across the country. Where
    co-locations have been completed, the experience has proved positive in relation to claimant
    outcomes, business delivery and financial benefits.



    January 13, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    • If this means what I suppose it does, it implies Job centres will be replaced with ‘Bizniz’ ‘enterprise’ Hubs inside said local authority/college sites.

      Andrew Coates

      January 14, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      • This is going to get interesting.

        How are they going to guarantee the Security aspects needed for a Government Office in a Corporate/Private location? There are strict rules in place for a reason.

        Lets not even look at the IT Security Issues…. and cost….


        January 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      • Good point.

        And I’m sure that local authorities, voluntary groups, and bizniz would welcome the kind of ‘incidents’ that regularly happen in Job Centres on their premises.

        Andrew Coates

        January 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm

  11. All i want is a paying full time job that im capable of doing (not an assumption i can ) that lasts longer than days, weeks or 3 months.

    We’ve all heard it, we all have said it yet the myriad of reforms have done precisely nothing to address it, not from government nor business alike.

    You would think judging by the amount of jobs our government claimed to have created last year alone (duplicates and fraud aside) that we would all be fighting employers and agencies off with a stick, that we would be asking our advisers to help us pick one so why isn’t it the case and is in fact the complete and utter opposite.

    Why is it that if government is handing out taxpayers money to employers, they come in droves yet as soon as their isn’t its preceded by a cough followed by a departure.

    Employers claimed it was lacking english and math so the government addressed it, they then said it was a lack of computer skills so the government addressed it, last time they said it was communication so the government addressed it yet despite all that, the increase you would expect from employers has been small.

    Government needs to address this as clearly, “we are not all in it together”.


    January 14, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    • A full time job I want, if only, they are going into history.


      January 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

  12. Nothing unusual.

    As the government pushes its controversial housing and planning bill, research reveals almost a third of MPs let out houses or flats.

    The Conservative party has the highest number of landlord MPs at 128, meaning 39% of Tory MPs are landlords, compared with 26% of Scottish National party MPs and 22% from Labour.

    The research reveals a much higher proportion of MPs are landlords than the general adult population, in which just 2% are estimated to be renting out homes.



    January 14, 2016 at 3:05 pm

  13. Maximus-owned Remploy slashes pay of disabled experts by half

    DNS – 14th Jan 2016

    The care watchdog has allowed a US outsourcing giant to slash the pay of disabled people by more than half when it takes over two contracts to manage service-users who work as expert advisers on care home and hospital inspections.

    Two of the three new contracts to run the Experts by Experience (EbE) programme – in which people with experience of using care services take part in Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections – have been awarded to Remploy, which is now mostly owned by the discredited US company Maximus.

    But even though the three new contracts are supposed to begin on 1 February, they have still not been signed, and CQC has admitted it “may take several more weeks for the negotiations to be complete and the contracts to be signed”.

    Existing EbEs who have spoken to Disability News Service (DNS) are furious at how the watchdog has treated them.

    CQC has described the EbE contract as its largest ever procurement process, but there are now question-marks over how it has run the exercise.

    Remploy confirmed this week to existing EbEs that it will pay them just £8.25 per hour (or £9.40 in London), compared with current rates of more than £17 per hour.

    Read More:

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    January 14, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    • Hold it Dosen’t TUPE kick in here?

      Someone is having a laugh methinks.


      January 15, 2016 at 9:20 pm

  14. The further into the future we go, the more losers there are.

    Under-40s worse off as result of state pension changes,

    Most people now in their teens, 20s and 30s will be worse off as a result of changes to the state pension system, while millions of older people will gain, according to the government’s own figures.



    January 15, 2016 at 10:01 am

  15. As a writer said, “theirs a highway into poverty but barely a sidewalk out of it”.


    January 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    • doug

      and if you try to crawl out, you or your kin you get a kick in the face to put you back were the ConCons want you to belong!!! Pension – spunk it off on the high life, oops spent it all, go to the poor house. Let the young pay twice. Education – ruin it. Health Service – sell it off as its failing due to the policies we introduced. Housing – poor don’t need no stinking housing. Work – Let them eat Cake. Life in general? – Let them Eat Cake.


      January 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm

      • Spot on Gazza

        When people think about poverty or even their very own position they usually only do so with regard to their immediate surroundings. The level of poverty globally is so staggering it exceeds well over half the entire species.

        Whether you help your own poor or that of another country, you will never rid the planet of total poverty so its a moneypit if im being honest. Now the worlds governments know this but they also know they need to stem the ever growing figure.

        The worlds species by far and large simply refuse to give up on the ideology of capitalism (the horse has bolted) and this includes many of the poor so as more people become rich, the equal amount become poor (a capitalistic fundamental) as we all know only to well the trickle down system doesn’t work so there’s no redistribution of anything.

        So they know the only way forward is to cull and that the choice will be the least contributing to society.
        If your already at the top you have a safe ticket leaving the rest of us to feed on each other. Now governments know if left unchecked would result in an apocalyptic situation resulting in societal structures and human behavior regressing backwards to a point not even those who were safe could survive in.

        There is obviously more additional content and a fleshing out to whats already been said but i don’t only want to paint one picture as i believe if we as a species change everything about us that this needn’t necessarily be the case.


        January 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      • We’d kill each other for a cheap telly on ‘Black Friday’… just imagine what would happen if the food began to disappear from the shelves… 😉

        Arma Geddon

        January 16, 2016 at 7:05 pm

  16. Missing benefits claimants risk DEATH, not destitution.

    “More than a million benefits claimants may be facing destitution after disappearing from the welfare system, Labour ex-minister Frank Field claims.

    Sanctions are being applied “at a scale unknown since the Second World War” and the fate of at least a third of those hit “is anybody’s guess”, he said.

    He says a government survey is needed to track the whereabouts of those dropping off the roll.

    But the Department of Work and Pensions says the claims have “no basis



    January 15, 2016 at 1:41 pm


    To get back into the Classic old format go to the “Comments” page then all posts from there. The Old Format back.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    January 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

  18. Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it… 😀

    David Rahman Noodles

    January 15, 2016 at 4:52 pm

  19. government scheme to provide expert employment support to young people launched by Iain Duncan Smith and Priti Patel.

    As part of the Jobcentre Plus support for schools initiative, local Jobcentre Plus advisers will offer 12 to 18 year old pupils insight into the world of work and advice on options like traineeships and apprenticeships. This scheme is designed to help young people think about their future career ambitions and make plans to realise them.



    January 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm

  20. Now in Ipswich this is relatively low – though an unwelcome extra deduction from our JSA.

    Here its £20 a month,thats a huge amout,the outcome is unsurprising with court appearances a council totally evasive and a blame someone else line,this is designed to make peoples lives hell and ignores ability to pay.


    January 15, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    • I pay £8 – which as you say Ken is a huge difference.

      £20 is a really big chunk of your JSA – on top of all the rest you have to pay.

      Andrew Coates

      January 16, 2016 at 10:29 am


    Quote from whistleblower about infamous Maximus:

    “Maximus is a ruthless American corporation only interested in money and targets. A company with their global reputation should never have been awarded such sensitive contracts.”

    And just when you were wondering why G4S keep getting lucrative Government contracts!



    January 16, 2016 at 10:31 am

    • This story is interesting as i was reading a like story posted on welfare weekly and came across a post reply by someone who stated basically the writing was on the wall as far back as August 2015.


      I would have posted it yesterday but it took some time locating an earlier post from this guy who claimed mainstream media suppressed it by removing it from their webpages. Luckily as this guy stated welfare weekly kept his original post alive so heres the link he advertised people should read.

      What shocked me about this wasn’t just the treatment he claims he received but how despite posting it when he did originally 5 months ago that the public outraged by the current news did absolutely nothing with it at the time or at least that’s my opinion on it be it right or wrong.


      January 16, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    • I thought these were considered essential qualifications for this contract!

      It’s worth remembering that DPAC and other disabled groups are already building a case against Maximus.

      Andrew Coates

      January 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm

  22. ot

    well i had my mr back and guess what still no points, as i can lift a can of soft drinks im fit for work.

    says i have my left arm and as that is fine i can use this?? also says i can use my body to support lifting a empty card board box hahah.

    even my doctor thinks there taking the piss and gave me another sick note for 3 months case they try cwp or mwa b4 it finishes end of march.


    January 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm

  23. Turn that around what you can’t do affects what you can do,that has a knock on to employability prospects which is going keep people on jobseekers benefits the likelihood for many years ignoring the prospects of ever finding employment.


    January 16, 2016 at 8:55 pm

  24. Energy bills, the Big Six and the scandal of people dying of cold in their own homes

    The Prime Minister admits that elderly people perishing in cold homes is a ‘standing rebuke’. So why doesn’t he act and force suppliers to cut their prices?

    This weekend, people will die of cold in their own homes – in this, the world’s fifth-largest economy – because they cannot afford to pay the high prices charged by energy companies.

    Though the cost of fuel to the Big Six has tumbled, they have not cut prices to match. And, rather than make them do so, the Government has turned its fire on clean, renewable power.



    January 17, 2016 at 1:50 am

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